Bin Laden threatens France
An audiotape which French officials believe to be authentic was released yesterday and featured the voice of Osama Bin Laden threatening to kill French citizens if France does not remove its troops in Afghanistan and stops oppressing Muslim women at home.
The tape, which was obtained by the Qatari owned television station Al-Jazeera, relays Bin Laden's voice threatening to kill French citizens in order to avenge the deaths it claims France has caused in Afghanistan and for a new law that bans the Muslim face-covering veil. The tape also linked those issues to the abduction of five French citizens in Niger, according to Al-Jazeera.
Bin laden told France to stop intervening in Muslim affairs. "If you unjustly thought that it is your right to prevent free Muslim women from wearing the face veil. Is it not our right to expel your invading men and cut their necks?"
The terrorist leader warned there would be more kidnappings if the country did not change its military course. "The only way to safeguard your nation and maintain your security is to lift all your injustice and its extensions off our people and most importantly to withdraw your forces from Bush's despicable war in Afghanistan."
The French Foreign Ministry has stated that the tape is real as its "authenticity can be considered established based on initial verifications," according to The Washington Post.
France currently has around 3,750 troops deployed in and near Afghanistan, making it the fourth-biggest contributor to the international mission, according to The Seattle Times. Its government is the first in the world to outlaw the face-covering burqa.
France's defense minister, Herve Morin, announced today it would begin to withdraw some troops from Afghanistan next year though it insisted the move is not tied to the Bin Laden threat. "There is a fixed date by NATO in the framework of its new strategy. That is the start of 2011. In 2011, we are going to transfer a whole series of districts to the Afghans," reports CNN.